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“Pills are not a shortcut to better health”: This is the truth you need to know

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Kamal Saini
Kamal S. has been Journalist and Writer for Business, Hardware and Gadgets at Revyuh.com since 2018. He deals with B2b, Funding, Blockchain, Law, IT security, privacy, surveillance, digital self-defense and network policy. As part of his studies of political science, sociology and law, he researched the impact of technology on human coexistence. Email: kamal (at) revyuh (dot) com

Taking vitamin supplements has become significantly popular in recent years, but are they really beneficial for your health? 

Today, we tell you everything you need to know before deciding to take these synthetic vitamins.

In the United States, half of the adult population takes some multivitamin or other vitamin or mineral supplement regularly, according to the John Hopkins Medicine Institute. 

In the case of people over 65, the figure corresponds to 70% of citizens. In total, in the North American country, more than $12 billion per year are spent annually on vitamins, the entity details.

What exactly are vitamin supplements?

Multivitamins or polyvitamins are tablets that contain a number of different vitamins, as the name suggests, and sometimes also minerals and other supposedly beneficial substances. The exact elements that each supplement contains, as well as their amounts, vary according to the product and depend solely on the recipe chosen by its manufacturer.

Among the most common options are multivitamins that are taken once a day and contain the vitamins and minerals our body needs to maintain good health, in amounts close to those recommended by specialists for adults.

It is also common for multivitamins to be sold that supposedly serve special purposes, such as increasing performance or energy, controlling weight, or improving immunity. These products generally contain other ingredients in addition to vitamins and minerals.

What are multivitamins for?

Some people are unable or unable to meet the body’s daily needs through diet alone. That is why taking a vitamin supplement helps these individuals obtain the amounts of vitamins and minerals recommended by doctors for the proper functioning of the body.

Supplements may be beneficial for people with certain specific health problems. One study showed, for example, that a particular form of multivitamins is capable of slowing vision loss in patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration, points out the National Institutes of Health — NIH of the United States.

Are multivitamins really beneficial?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no scientific evidence that vitamin supplements are capable of reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline, or even preventing premature death.

“Pills are not a shortcut to better health and the prevention of chronic diseases. Other nutrition recommendations have much stronger evidence of benefits—eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and sugar you eat,” emphasizes Dr Larry Appel, director of the Johns Hopkins Welch Center for the Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Investigation.

Although the intake of multivitamins is indicated in some cases, the NIH agrees that these tablets should never replace the consumption of varied foods, which are important for a healthy diet. The entity highlights that food, in addition to vitamins and minerals, also provides fiber and other essential elements for good health.

What are the risks of vitamin supplements?

The daily intake of any vitamin supplement is unlikely to cause harm to health. What can happen, however, is an overdose of some nutrient. This can happen when, in addition to tablets, the individual regularly consumes fortified foods, such as cereals or drinks with added vitamins and minerals, warn the NIH.

It is especially dangerous the excessive consumption of iron, vitamin A, and beta-carotene, emphasizes the entity.

When the body ingests much more iron than it can eliminate, the substance can cause damage to various tissues and organs of the body, such as the liver and heart, by accumulating in them.

Vitamin A and beta-carotene (which can be converted into this vitamin in our body) in excess are particularly harmful for smokers and ex-smokers. 

According to the NIH, these nutrients can increase the risk of lung cancer in these individuals. Also, pregnant women who take in too much vitamin A can increase the risk of birth defects in their babies.

Those who use certain medications to reduce blood clotting should take precautions when taking supplements that contain vitamin K in their formula. This nutrient is known to decrease the effectiveness of some of these drugs.

Image Credit: Getty

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